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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Life + Arts

Local psychics vary in quality, accuracy

Houston is home to many eminent mediums who boast steady followings of loyal believers and work under a variety of different names, depending on the type of services they provide.

They may refer to themselves as psychics, clairvoyants, seers, spiritual guides, mediums, channelers or fortunetellers.

Most people who travel down Westheimer Road can identify psychic businesses without having to read the sign. An internationally recognizable hand symbol posted out front often designates spiritual services available inside.

One psychic business, an unassuming white house at 2119 S Shepherd Dr., is home to Mrs. Gray, a fortuneteller and card reader.’ Gray has specialized in tarot card readings at this address for more than 34 years, making her a longtime fixture in Houston’s psychic community.

English junior Lindsey Brown visited Gray, and left disappointed.

‘I consider myself a good judge of something sensationalized and phony,’ Brown said. ‘I’ve had lots of accurate psychics talking to me before, and this was just laughable; she was so vague.’

The entertaining spell spent at Gray’s was less than helpful, but Brown remembers the woman she encountered at a clairvoyant conference who made her a believer in spiritual guidance – psychic Diane Gremmel.

Gremmel, voted ‘Best Psychic 2009’ by the Houston Press, has given readings for more than 25 years. She can be found the first Saturday of each month at Marva’s Alternative Health & Psychic Fairs at the La Quinta Inn Galleria.

‘I see (Gremmel) at least twice a year. The first time, I was skeptical, of course,’ Brown said. ‘Two girls were on the doorstep after having their reading, and I was freaked out because they were both crying. I asked what was wrong, and one simply said I needed to go in, that I had no idea how much it would help me to talk to this lady.

‘I couldn’t leave it at that, so after pressuring (her) a bit, she told me that the lady said she had a child growing in her. She didn’t believe it, and left because she thought she was just making it up. Soon she learned at a doctor appointment that she was two months pregnant, and didn’t even know it, and here she came back again to thank the woman.’

The story was enough of a catalyst to send Brown flying up the stairs to meet the woman, excited to learn what her future held in store. Brown did not offer any revealing personal information or ask specific questions, but Gremmel still correctly identified her future goals and unusual details from her past for an experience that Brown deemed well worth the $10 fee.

According to an Ezine article by twin mediums Scott and Stephen Petullo, the topics that their clients are most frequently curious about are romantic relationships, past lives, pregnancy and careers.

Psychic readings in Houston range from $5 to $25 for tarot card, palm or life readings. One notable exception to this standard is Uncle Chin in Bellaire, who only accepts donations.

Former UH philosophy and political science major Victoria Arzu was ‘going through (a) down period in college and wanted to consult someone for a third perspective.”

She has sought guidance from Chin on at least five occasions, and plans to visit him again on her next trip home. She asks for advice on relationships and her goals for the future, one of which involves restarting the Women’s Coalition for Student Rights that she founded at UH.

‘The way he tells your fate, he’s more of a mentor than a fortune teller, as he tells you just to be cautious,’ Arzu said. ‘The first time I went, it was nerve-racking, and it was like a mini-temple inside. I was just so intrigued by him, and I kept going back so I could verify that it was legit and his story never really wavered. A lot of the accurate things he told me were comforting.’

Though she’s never heard any negative feedback about his approach, Arzu said his thick dialect is a minor barrier for some clients.

‘I’m kind of used to people with an accent, so it wasn’t too hard for me,’ Arzu said.
‘But I know people who had an issue with that, and said (they) couldn’t understand everything and didn’t really get much out of it. But he gives you the option of bringing a tape (to record the session).’

Psychics hold sessions in their homes, by phone, at fairs or even by e-mail. Brown and Arzu both agreed, however, that meeting a spiritual guide in person is preferable.

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